Welcome to our Spring 2012 newsletter, with information about Friends of the Library events and activities, Library Programs, Museum Discount Passes, and other timely topics that fit. The Friends is a nonprofit, charitable organization whose purpose is to enhance and promote the Norwell Public Library.
As I was out of commission for most of January, February, and March with one thing or another, I don’t have a lot to report except to say what a wonderful job the Friends did during my absence. They persevered with Sponsor of the Month, working on our new logo and Museum Passes, and getting our 2012 membership drive up and running – to name just a few efforts. The dedication, initiative, and productivity of our members has been impressive. The Library and town are fortunate to have such able volunteers. Many thanks to all of you.
I did attend one of the first Norwell Reads events at the Library “Contemporary Collectibles: What’s hot & what’s not” with Joan Caddigan (from Caddigan Auctioneers of Hanover). The program was extremely informative and enjoyable. Looking forward to more Norwell Reads events.
The Library has had a banner year on so many levels – a testament to the staff, volunteers, and town support. With your support, the Library will be able to continue its valuable work, which benefits everyone in town, young and old.
We hope you attended Norwell’s May 7th Town Meeting, will vote on May 19th, and please come to the reconvening of Town Meeting on May 21st to support your Library.
Penny Wilson, Chairman
Penny Wilson, Chair, and Jeanne Ivas, Library Trustee
Throughout the budget season, which seems to grow longer with more difficult choices facing residents and town officials, the Trustees of NPL continued to explore and revisit options to ensure enriching and stable Library Services. We began the budget process in fall 2011 with a request to provide a level services budget based on what had been appropriated for fiscal year 2012 for 44 operating hours. A budget was duly crafted and sent to the Advisory Board. In January came the first hearing on budget, not a difficult meeting. The Library’s budget requirements came in lower due to retirements, departure of a systems manager, and replacement personnel at lower salaries. The Trustees and Director also met with the Capital Budget Committee for a hearing on short and long term requests. The Capital Budget Committee seemed inclined to fund at least one of the requests: the remaining amount needed for replacement carpeting.
As we moved closer to the Annual Town Meeting, discussions from the Selectmen and Advisory Board have focused on the need for a Proposition 2 ½ override. The Library budget was adjusted several times during this 2012 Fiscal Year as personnel changes occurred, lowering our operational costs and permitting us to stay open the current 51 hours per week. We asked for a second hearing with the Advisory Board to adjust the budget request upward to maintain the current 51 hours open. In budget documents released to Trustees, that request was not granted, but the level services budget of $530,758 was approved by the Advisory Board for the override scenario to fund 45 open hours per week.
In the non-override scenario, the Advisory Board set the Library’s budget at $485,900 which is a loss of $44,858 or an 8.5% reduction. In this situation, in order to fund 45 hours per week, the Trustees plan to use money from state aid to fund the gap in expenses and money from the Pote trust (extremely reluctantly) to fund the gap in staff salaries. This trust was the result of a bequest, which Trustees earmarked for a new or renovated Library. We are deeply distressed to use some of this fund for operations, but we believe that the integrity and access to Library Services should remain available to our patrons, especially during this period of continued economic hardship. We also feel very strongly that Library employees should not bear the burden of further financial loss.
In the override scenario, the Library budget of $530,758 to maintain 45 operational hours, as recommended by the Advisory Board, would be fully funded by the municipal budget. The final request from the Library was for a budget of $537,592 to enable the Library to remain open 51 hours per week, the current schedule.
Trustees encourage all residents to attend forums and budget information discussions in order to make informed decisions at Town Meeting on May 7th, vote on May 19th, and attend the reconvened Town Meeting on May 21st. Support for your Public Library is greatly appreciated.
Jeanne Hagelstein-Ivas, Chairman, Board of Library Trustees
Support Your Library at Town Meeting
The Friends, the Library Trustees, and the Library Staff are deeply disappointed that the Advisory Board is recommending that the town cut the Library’s budget again. The Library serves the entire town, from infants and children to students in our school system to working adults and senior citizens. Each group benefits from this community resource through materials and programs of special interest and value.
LIBRARY HOURS: So you understand the numbers, roughly $538,000 is required to keep the Library open 51 hours per week. The Library’s current schedule is 51 hours per week:
Mon-Tues-Wed 10 am – 8 pm
Th-Fri-Sat 10 am – 5 pm
Even if the override passes, the Library will revert to 45 hours and the crazy, irregular schedule that had some days open at 10 am and some at noon. Note that (only) an additional $7,000 in personnel costs spread over the Fiscal Year 2013 budget would keep the Library open the current 51 hours per week. This is the 45 hour a week schedule:
Monday 10 am – 8 pm
Tuesday 12 noon – 8 pm
Wed 12 noon – 8 pm
Thursday 10 am – 5 pm
Friday 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday 10 am – 4 pm
Visits to the Library increased dramatically this year as the Library returned to a more predictable and lengthy schedule. Use of the Library by unique visitors each month is shown below. Notice that the first 9 months of Fiscal Year 2012 had more visitors than the full Fiscal Years in the four preceding years. Not only is the Library more in use, the more regular schedule contributes to accessibility. The third graph below shows the Library budget appropriations over the last 5 years and the impact of the override vote on the Library.
If the override does not pass, the Library will still revert to that crazy, irregular 45 hours schedule AND the Trustees will take money from state aid funds and the Pote Trust, all of which was meant to be used for a new Library building or for Library materials, not for operational purposes. This is the only way the Library can stay open 45 hours per week and maintain certification. To maintain certification the town must vote to fund a minimum operational budget to support at least 40 hours per week and a Library materials budget at least 102.5% of the prior 3 years average materials budget. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Library was approved and funded for 44 hours per week and extra funds were available following a retirement and a replacement to enable the 51 hour schedule.
The Advisory Board recommendation for Fiscal Year 2013 would cut the Library’s total budget from what it was in Fiscal Year 2012. The following graph outlines the FY 2013 options.
THE RUG SITUATION: The main areas of the Library have rugs which are at least 17 years old and receive heavy use whenever the building is open. They have become increasingly rippled to the point where there is concern about patrons tripping. The rugs in the Community Room and behind the front desk where the librarians work have been replaced in the last 3 years. Funding to replace aging rugs in the main building has been requested by the Library during the last two budget cycles, but funding has not been available to complete this project. $7,000 was approved for the project last year, but $17,000 more is needed to do the job. The rugs will be replaced with carpet squares if Town Meeting approves the warrant article for this capital budget item.
The Friends are in good shape financially this year! The Residents of Norwell were generous last year and we look forward to substantial donations again this year. Becky and Nancy always have exciting and unique programs to offer us, so we’d like to keep the programs coming, as well as the Museum Passes the Friends offer, which will include new and different museums this year.
In addition, thanks to you, the Friends were able to do something extra for the Library recently. The Friends of the Norwell Public Library spruced up the Community Room with a fresh coat of paint and new light fixtures. You really should come by for a visit if you haven’t seen it. What a difference! What an improvement! Also at the beginning of the year, the Friends purchased a laptop computer and software for the Library to loan to patrons for use inside the Library.
Your donations make a big difference!
Sponsor of the Month, our new fundraiser, is going well. We’ve had two sponsors and are receiving favorable responses from companies around town. Private citizens can also become a Sponsor of the Month, so let us know if you’d like to help the Library and we’ll put a banner up in the Library with YOUR name on it!
We’d like to remind you that 89% of all donations go towards Library Programs, Museum Passes, and the extras that the Friends do for the Library. Most of the remainder goes to the annual membership drive mailing (printing and postage) which lets the Friends get the word out about the Library in order to receive needed donations. Our Library is a great one and we appreciate your help so we can keep it that way.
Thank you for your support,
Tracy White, Treasurer
Sponsor of the Month Fundraiser Program
This year the Friends launched a Sponsor of the Month Fundraiser Program for local businesses and professionals. For a tax-deductible donation of $500, the Friends publicize the donor business as the Norwell Public Library Sponsor of the Month to the Norwell Mariner, the corporate GOOD WORKS column of the Patriot Ledger, Boston Globe South, and WATD radio Marshfield. Sponsors are recognized for 12 months on the Friends website. Sponsors are thanked in the Friends newsletter, which is sent via email to all Friends, interested parties, and the Norwell School system electronic backpack, with paper copies available at the Library. We hang a “Sponsor of the Month” banner prominently inside the Library for a month, naming and thanking the sponsor, with room on the (roughly 2×4 foot) banner for a sponsor-supplied statement. Sponsors may keep the banner at the end of the month. Sponsors may choose to have their donation associated with the Museum Pass, Adult, or Children’s Programs or used as a non-directed donation. Banners are seen by roughly 20,000 Library visitors each month!
To become a Sponsor of the Month, please contact Penny Wilson, Friends Chairman, through the Norwell Public Library at 781-659-2015. Donations of any amount are gratefully appreciated and will be acknowledged publicly on the Friends Honor Roll on the bulletin board in the Library entrance.
Once again we would like to thank:
February, 2012: Attorney William T. Kennedy
April, 2012: Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
The FNPL 2012 Membership Drive is in full swing right now. Members, both new and renewing, have been sending their checks in great numbers. This response enables us to continue underwriting Library Programs as well as the very popular Museum Pass program.
We hope to continue providing enrichment and improvements to supplement Library offerings.
The enthusiastic response to painting the Community Room and the additional lighting has been heartening. Although in a more generous environment these things would be community funded, we were happy that the Friends could make this unique contribution.
Your generosity is our lifeblood. Please continue to support the Friends of the Norwell Public Library.
Kathleen Fitzgerald, Membership
Updating the Community Room
The Friends of the Library voted in September, 2011 to fund painting the Community Room ceiling and walls and add supplementary lighting to the room. Our hope was that these enhancements would substantially help improve both the usability and the desirability of this asset so that our Library’s facilities remain valued and functional. On Friday, January 13, a small army of volunteers, the Library Director, and Library Staff carefully took all the books, tapes, and so on off the Community Room shelves, labeling the shelves and the boxes, all in preparation for the weekend painting. On Tuesday, January 17, Library staff and volunteers did a thorough cleaning of shelves and the back entry, then reshelved all the materials in the Community Room. These days of community effort were both fun and a valuable part of the renovation.
This one-time gift to the Library is not an indication that the Friends can, or will, fund other future physical plant maintenance. Given our limited resources and the challenges of fundraising in today’s economy, our role remains to help fund Library Programs, Museum Passes, and the occasional bit of equipment. We’re happy to see no more water stains on the ceiling tiles, bright lighting, and a restful color scheme for community meetings.
The Friends remain dedicated to helping the Library preserve and expand programs to serve the community. We would also like to recognize that the painting was done by Certa Pro Painters and the lighting was done by John Lunn, who also did the parking lot LED lighting.
Fred-the-Shed Opened for the Season with a Plant Sale
Fred’s spring opening this year was on Saturday, May 5th. Along with the opening of Fred, the Friends held a plant sale from 10 am to 2 pm with a collection of donated houseplants and outdoor plants. This is our first plant sale and everyone had a lot of fun raising money for the Library with Spring Flowers!
Fred is open for business during Library hours when the weather is good. Volunteers accept donations, shelve books, and take payments from visitors. Fred is open 4-6 hours a day, with volunteers donating 2 hours at a time as their schedules permit. Volunteer hours are flexible and all are welcome to participate. Donations may be brought to the Shed anytime Fred or the Library are open.
All gently-used media donations are gratefully received. Fred does not accept encyclopedias, magazines, old textbooks, religious books, or videotapes.
Fred-the-Shed is the little building in the woods, along the side of the Norwell Library. From early May to early October, Fred is open for business with volunteers selling gently used books, books on tape, videogames, CDs, and DVDs. The Friends of the Norwell Public Library raise over $1,000 each year from Fred-the-Shed, and that money funds Library Programs and Museum Passes available at the Library.
Daune Haskell, Queen Bee of Fred-the-Shed
Library Director’s Report
Thanks to our Library users, this fiscal year has been one of the most active in recent years. At the rate we are going we may reach a record circulation of Library items borrowed from NPL. This does not include electronic usage such as ancestry.com, BYKI (a language study program), or Freegal (a site where our users can download 3 free music tracks a week). Due to our fantastic Museum Passes offered to you with donations by the Friends of the Norwell Public Library, our usage is the highest in Norwell Public Library history. New museum offerings include the Adams National Historical Park, the American Textile History Museum, the Peabody Essex, and Zoo New England. One of our most heavily used passes is the New England Aquarium donated by the Norwell Woman’s Club.
If you haven’t visited our website recently (that’s norwellpubliclibrary.org ), you may not have noticed that we have added a new product called Book Sizzle. Book Sizzle connects you to our catalog while offering you award winners, bestsellers, reviews, and media tie-ins.
This spring we celebrated our 7th Norwell Reads program. This year’s selection is Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow, a fictional account of the famous Collyer brothers of turn-of-the-century New York City. I would like to thank our committee members: Jason Bloom, Suzanne Gnospelius, (Norwell resident) Nancy Perry, and Jennifer Pratt (Norwell High School). Special thanks to Wendy Bawabe who offered her expertise in graphic design, Andrea and Tim Burke who donated the Norwell Reads banner, and the many contributors who helped make this another successful season. Someone who attended our panel discussion about hoarding and organizing told me that this program was life-changing. She discovered that she herself is a hoarder and realized the behaviors described in this condition are similar to what she has been dealing with. She plans on seeking treatment based on the non-judgmental way the topic was discussed. She was very brave to talk to me about this and it’s rewarding to hear that we touch people’s lives, sometimes in ways we can’t imagine.
Lastly, I would like to thank Hannaford Supermarket for their generous donation of $1,000 to the Norwell Public Library for next year’s Norwell Reads!
Rebecca Freer, Director
News from the Children’s Room
Since December, when I last reported, I’ve noticed materials flying off the shelves for school reports; preschoolers and their caregivers amusing themselves with our board games and puzzles; and the littlest ones cozying up with caregivers on the red rocking chair. The hustle-bustle juxtaposed with contemplative activity is pretty unique to libraries, don’t you think?
We kicked off the new year with what turned out to be a hugely successful collaboration with the High School to bring the acclaimed documentary film “Race to Nowhere” to Norwell. Attracting a near-capacity audience of nearly 500 people, the film sparked community-wide conversations about stress in children; homework; balancing work, family, and leisure and other concerns to students and their families. We heard from many patrons who appreciated having the opportunity to view the film, which, as yet, is not available for purchase or loan.
In February, 19 programs for children were held in the Library, including our beloved standards: “Books & Bubbles” (for babies, toddlers and their caregivers); Library Story Time (for pre-schoolers and their caregivers); and an appearance by popular folk singer Mama Steph. Vacation Week attracted dozens of children to programs featuring cooking, Legos, clothing design, and a movie with free popcorn provided by Patriot Cinemas.
In March, the Friends-supported a “hair-raising” event presented by Mad Science of Greater Boston introducing children to electricity concepts, with static electricity demonstrations that literally raised the hair right above their heads! Each participant went home with a “static wand” to continue their experiments.
At the end of the month, we kicked off Norwell Reads: Homer & Langley with a “Touch-a-Fire-Truck” family event featuring Norwell’s firefighters. More than 100 people weathered the outdoor event in a fine misty rain, and then came indoors to hear stories about fire safety read by Chief Andy Reardon. The pictures tell what fun was had by all who came! Once again, our wonderful Youth Library Council volunteers pitched in, with face painting and a bake table – a fine display of community in action.
Now my attention turns to plans for our Summer Reading Program: “Dream Big – Read!” Watch for details coming soon – and please let me know if you’d like to volunteer in the Children’s area this summer – your assistance is always welcome.
Nancy Perry, Children’s Librarian
Adult and Reference Librarian Report
You may have noticed the library website’s new front page recently. We have taken great pains to redesign the layout. We have added a great new addition to our header: a search bar for our catalog, a link to log in to your library account, and a link to Overdrive, our shared catalog for eBooks and audio book downloads. We even added a link to our hours and directions, and all of these additions are built right into the page header, so they are available on every page!
Some great online research tools have been added to our Services column along the right-hand side of the front page as well, making it easy to simply one-click your way directly into these excellent resources. We have brought Novelist Plus and Novelist K-8 out of hiding, and they are a wonderful way to search for that next great book. We have added the electronic version of the popular Consumer Reports as well as Book Sizzle, which generates a monthly roundup of hot new titles! We have even added a beautiful widget that showcases the covers of our own Staff Picks, so now you can see what the Norwell Library staff is reading, watching and listening to!
Along with the new laptop, we have also made our AccuCut die-cut machine available for in-Library patron use. The machine is great for scrap bookers, crafters, and educators and may be used by adults or youths in grades 4 and up under the supervision of Library Staff. We hope that you will come in and check out all of the great resources we have available, and would appreciate feedback on the website, research tools, or any of the many services we provide!
Great Graphic Novels for Adults at the Library!
With the proliferation of many comic-based properties skyrocketing in popularity, it is easy to see that graphic novels should get more consideration. But they are often overlooked, slighted, and just plain misunderstood. Comics in general have had a rough time here in America for the last 60 years or so. For a while the graphic medium of storytelling was widely accepted and wildly popular, but in 1954, it all changed with the publication of the book The Seduction of the Innocent by psychiatrist Frederic Wertham.
This book kicked off a firestorm of public outrage, and fueled many instances of censorship, until the comics-publishing industry itself decided to self-censor. Thus the CCA, or Comics Code Authority, was born, and all comics from that point forward had to have the seal of approval stamped on their covers, and all content had to strictly adhere to the Code’s criteria, which prohibited things like “disrespectful” depictions of law enforcement, forbade violence, monsters, certain words, and good had to triumph over evil.
The Code sanitized comic content and restricted creative license, forcing many comics to go underground, leaving the ones that remained to be portrayed as superficial and “just for kids.” It was during this time, and the decades that followed, which saw the decline of comics in America, and the animated cartoons which that industry supported were not much better, having to acquiesce to the restrictions placed on television content as well.
In other countries, most notably Japan, these restrictions were not in place, and the comics and cartoon industries flourished like nothing else. After WW II the US was hard at work rebuilding infrastructure, and comics and animation played major roles, providing jobs and much-needed distractions from the horrors of war. In fact Japanese comics, known as manga (literally “whimsical pictures”), have had an enormous effect on the world, creating a culture and a style all their own, generating massive revenues in the process.
But what about adults? Why read comics? For one thing, they are not just for kids. Some titles have earned major literary awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize, Hugo Award, and World Fantasy Award. Comics combine words and pictures, creating what the education world heralds as multi-modal literacy. Many of these graphic novels have spawned movies, as well as long-running animated and live-action television shows. So what are you waiting for? Do you enjoy romance, suspense, character-driven stories, human nature, science fiction, horror, true crime, or westerns? Comics have something for everyone, and the library is more than happy to provide!
Jason M. Bloom, Adult and Reference Librarian
Museum Pass Update
The Friends are excited to introduce two new Museum Passes to the American Textile History Museum and the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. Located about 1 mile apart, these two museums make a great day trip. The passes each allow free admission for two individuals.
The American Textile History Museum (shown right) allows visitors to explore the impact of the art, history, and science of textiles on America’s history. The current special exhibition, Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time, offers a look into how textiles have changed over the course of history to offer new advances in clothing such as protective clothing for firefighters and special athletic wear for elite athletes. Upcoming special exhibitions include Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War and Suited for Space.
The New England Quilt Museum offers visitors a chance to explore this unique form of American art. This year the museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary with special events throughout the year making it a great time to visit. The current special exhibition, Fenway Park Centennial, celebrates the 100th birthday of Fenway Park with a collection of antique and modern art quilts that capture the excitement that is Fenway.
The Friends hope Library patrons will enjoy using these new Museum Passes along with the other passes currently offered. Please see the Library website for additional details on all the Museum Passes and to reserve your pass.
American Textile History Museum Location and Hours
491 Dutton Street, Lowell, MA 01854
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm
New England Quilt Museum Location and Hours
18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01854
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
May 1st – October 31st
also open Sundays, Noon – 4 pm
Thank you for your support, Karen Leary, Museum Pass Wrangler
James Library News for May-June, 2012
The Friends encourage our members to visit the other library and cultural center in Norwell: the James Library in the center of town. The James features ever changing gallery displays, musical experiences (such as the recent sold out performance of the THE BEELZEBUBS from the popular TV show Glee. Here is a little of what’s going on at the James. Please see their website for details: www.jameslibrary.org
May 2012 Art Gallery
May 4 – May 30, Darlene Bradlee, Artist / Photographer, Big Bloomers: Light, Color and Abstraction, Opening reception on Friday, May 4th from 6 – 8 pm
Weekend Classics Concert
Sunday, May 6th at 3 pm, An afternoon of Russian music with Esther Yau, piano, and Rafael Popper-Kiezer, cello. Tickets available online at www.jameslibrary.org and at the door. $20 adult, $18 senior, and $10 student; Call 781-659-7100 for further information.
Books in Bloom!
Opening Party: Friday, May 11, 6 – 9 pm Exhibition: Saturday, May 12, 10 am – 1 pm The James bursts at the seams with creative flower arrangements by 30 South Shore artists depicting their favorite books in this two day magical display of combined artistry.
June 2012 Art Gallery
June 2 – June 30, Gayle Kiley, Opening reception on Friday, June 2nd from 6 – 8 pm
24 West Street, Norwell, 781-659-7100
OPEN: Tuesday- Friday 1 – 5 pm and Saturday 10 am – 1 pm
Friends of the Norwell Public Library – NEW LOOK
The Friends would like to thank Angela Scieszka of Marshfield, graphic artist and designer, for our new logo (in the Library’s logo colors) and for helping us develop an updated look. Angela has kindly and generously donated her time and expertise to help us update our visuals, our print materials, and our website. It’s all a wonderful work in progress and we’re very grateful!